I'd be interested to know why some prints were "minimum $800" - implying there were other prints at higher prices...
Were the more expensive ones "Even Finer Art"?
Are the cheaper ones merely "A Bit Less Fine" developed his second best developing dish?
Assuming this is a genuine question, and not just another "Artists are shysters and should be horsewhipped" posting:
Originally Posted by jerry lebens
Price will depend primarily on size, on whether pictures are framed and/or matted, and on whether the picture in question is an early or late example within a stepped edition (in which the price rises after a certain number of copies of a picture have been sold).
Back at the original incident:
It is surprising that someone who is allegedly a regular art buyer (including photography) should ask such a philistine and stupid question (does she also ask the same question of painters and sculptors?), not so surprising that an artist should decline to waste his time at a private view talking to an apparent moron. If the good lady knows anything at all about buying art directly from artists at the lower end of the market, she should understand the principle of buying what you like and are attracted to, with considerations of investment potential and monetary gain distinctly secondary.
Myself and an artist friend at work quite like reading the 'Artist's Intention' statements put out with advertisements for exhibitions and on their websites. We have found that the pretentiousness of the statement is inversely proportional to the quality of their work (only our opinion, obviously).
I agree with one of the statements made above that as soon as you make a statement to try to justify your work, you have failed. It should stand up on its own merits.
We are of the view that if we were to have exhibitions (soon I hope), our statement would be a simple 'Here are some pictures, I hope you like them'.
Interesting how everything must have a purpose. "I took my camera out and while walking in the garden with my children I suddenly took a picture of them" "I call it "A Walk to Paradise Garden"". What the hell is that? He just took a photo and it's Art? Shouldn't it be in a family photo album? I have some that look like that in mine and they aren't Art or are they?
A long time ago I lived a year in NYC as a starving student type. I was truly poor and made some much needed extra cash by way of a bit of street performance which I promise is somewhat related to this thread's question:
I posted myself in Washington Square and approached total strangers crossing the park and said, "I bet you one dollar I can make you smile. I won't tell you a joke, I won't make a face -- in fact, I won't do anything. You're going to make yourself smile and do all the work for me ...what do you say?"
Most people took the bet and once they did I gently tugged them to the center of one of the four, bench-ringed large circles of the park and told them to say any sentence they pleased. Usually, they'd say, "Anything?" ...and immediately look around and break into a huge grin. They hadn't known it, but I'd dragged them to the center of an echo chamber formed by four thin lampposts that ringed each of those circles in the park. There was a about a one foot square sweet spot -- stand outside of it and the sounds of the city were normal and your own conversation muffled by them. But hit that spot and your own voice reverberated in your head, drowning out everything else.
The point is I'd found something unexpected that most people were delighted by and that probably became the most memorable part of their day. And in some way a "fine art" photo does the same thing, I think. It tugs the stranger by the sleeve and says, "wait, come here and look at this." It brings them to the sweet spot where even the mundane, through examination of visual relationships, textures, tonalities, etc... suddenly come together to reverberate within us. That's pretty vague, I admit, but I think it's unfair to expect any artist to be more articulate about his work than that. In your photographer's position, WarEagle, I'd put together some kind of story like the above to answer with and leave it go at that.
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I have had many experiences like the one that starts this thread, both as an artist showing work and as a visitor to galleries.
The situations vary, but generally if it is one of the later where I have been looking at a work and some one has come along and said something along the lines of "any one could do that" I have learnt to resist the temptation to say "Well shit head, if that's the case why isn't yours there" instead I say nothing and leave them alone to feel superior.
In WarEaglemtn case, as someone who exhibits and sells primarly through gallary shows, I can give a specific example. I say to people something along the lines of the following
"I have thought about what I want to do and I have worked at what I want to do. I have taken photographs and rejected them. I have thought more about what I want and taken more photographs, honed the idea, edited and rejected, anguished and felt as if I wasn't getting anywhere. In the end I have chosen these images. They may be some of the first, or the last. They are the ones I chose."
And when they say "but they are only photographs" then I glare at them and treat them like the idiots they are. And yes I have had people say that. The best was "but they aren't even in colour!"
When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money. Oscar Wilde Blog fp4.blogspot.com
Mr. Bebbington brought up a salient point with regards to the lady patron in question. Perhaps she is "uninformed" in the art world and buys because it is trendy/cool/bragging rights/whatever and just didn't "get" the photographs. Perhaps she is informed in the art world, understands composition/structure/form/light/etc. and simply wanted to hear the photographers reasoning or still didn't get it. And maybe the images didn't resonate with her, feel unique, or lacked impact.
That does not mean the photograph failed or succeeded. Many paintings mean different things to different viewers, and the same would hold true with a photograph. Some get it, some don't.
I understand Barnett Neumans and Kellys paintings because of my formal art education, but I don't like them per se, nor would (or could) I purchase them for any reason other than investment. But give me a Frankenthaler, Arthur Dove, or Rothko and I'm engrossed. Subjectivity.
My answer would have been simple, "what does it mean or say to you?"; or "why do you think it is or isn't fine art?". Throw it back at them.
I would not go so far as labeling her/him or any patron a moron, as most do not have a formal art education. I don't see a problem in explaining why I took a particular photograph, or what inspired me to make it.
As to me defining why it is "fine art", just about any answer would come off as elitist/pompous/stupid/arrogant. I feel it would be fruitless.
Matt's Photo Site
"I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin
So what is your point in not naming him? Is there some reason? If this person had such a difficult time speaking of his work and you know he visits this site... don't you think this kind of post might be viewed as something contrived to be inciting and to rub salt in his wounds? I've seen your work and it is very nice. A cut above much of what gets posted here. Why do you feel the need to take it upon yourself to "help" this man publicly in a forum such as this? ..."Maybe it will help him next time so he can give a simple explanation and not have to do the 'offended artist' act." If you know he sometimes visits here, why not contact him directly with your benevolence rather than trying to gather the lynch mob? I'm very interested. I'd also be very interested to hear the story from the photographer's side. It is easy for you to give us all your version for people to base their conclusions. However, something tells me your description of the "offended artist act" might be a little different as perceived by someone else who was there. For now I am afraid your post looks more like the "Artists are shysters and should be horsewhipped posting" mentioned by Mr. Bebbington.
Originally Posted by WarEaglemtn
While it's extremely tempting to be sarcastic with cabbage heads who ask seemingly dopey questions, it can also be an opportunity to offer a previously well considered answer. The most important thing is to not alienate a person who could, with a little 'coaching', become either an appreciative audience, or perhaps, a buyer.
The price question should be easy to handle with a little humor. It also doesn't hurt to answer such a question with another question like: Why are some restaurants more expensive than others? Why are plumbers rich? Why does coffee from Starbucks cost so much more than coffee from Dunkin Donuts and come in a size called 'grande'? It can also be offered that photographs are as inexpensive as they are because they may come in an edition of multiple prints rather than the far more expensive single iteration of a painting for example.
Or...you can just take a mouthful of wine and spew it all over the idiot who had the nerve to question your position on the pedestal.
Originally Posted by jerry lebens
i am sure he charges what the market will bear, just as a commercial photographer will charge 2-3,000$ / day as a "day rate" ... because people will pay them that much ...